Discovering a good food mashup is like that time when you were five and saw Donald Duck talking to Mickey Mouse outside the Italy pavilion at Epcot Center. Syrup is amazing on its own. Oozing out of trees during a specific time of year, Canadian’s are famous for the intricate forest plumbing systems that run the liquid gold into their sugar shacks. Equally awesome and particular is Bourbon. The heritage, process and ingredients are heralded by drinkers the world over. The guys at Dorset decided to smash these two together creating Maple Bourbon Syrup. The sweetness and viscosity of maple syrup with the barrel aged flavor of bourbon makes Sunday morning brunch a Saturday night party and that’s just once use of this glorious nectar.
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We never thought of putting garam masala on cold greens either but a few nights ago we were treated to such a salad. A sprinkle of this quintessential Indian mixture onto crispy fresh fennel, juicy grapefruit supremes and the occasional candied ginger, worked better than I would have ever guessed in making our tastebuds dance. With a bit further investigation (Raiding our friend’s pantry) we discovered this triad of masalas from the late, great chef Floyd Cardoz in collaboration with Burlap and Barrel. Chef Cardoz passed from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020 but left a legacy through his compassion, teachings and artifacts, like these spices. Burlap and Barrel partners directly with small farmers to source spices that have never been available in the US before and help improve the livelihoods of their partner farmers. This collab was no exception. Working with Chef Cardoz’s wife and business partner Barkha Cardoz, as a memorial to his love for the cuisines of India and his passion for sharing them with the world, the three masalas are uniquely different but all Chef Cardoz. The garam masala is floral, sweet and aromatic. Second in the trifecta, the Goan masala has an earthy, pungent, gingery complexity flavor profile. Lastly, the Kashmiri masala brings the heat with a fennel, ginger and aromatic profile anchored by the Kashmiri chili. Aside from being great on your favorite greens, this trifector collection is a fantastic way to pay homage and connect with a chef who made a huge impact on the culinary world.
Thirty-eight years ago David Letterman started his late-night show, Tylenol capsules laced with potassium cyanide killed 7 people and the first issue of USA Today was published. As an eight-year-old, all of that paled in comparison to the introduction of McDonald’s McRib sandwich. This first brush with BBQ left an indelible mark that would stick with me years later at Memphis in May and while slurping up every full slab I could find from Mississippi to Chicago. Today this sandwich king is available nationwide for the first time since 2012. I know what you’re thinking, with all the incredible BBQ available across this great country why would I opt for a frozen, pre-formed, visually faked rib sandwich? You could easily dismiss my love as nostalgia but it runs deeper than that. Anthony Bourdain made a point to champion all food through the lens of culture. He was also known for his penchant for some of the more, let’s call it, faster of food options from time to time. With that in mind, the McRib is that food for me. Its impact on me was just as culturally profound as David Letterman challenging Johnny Carson or USA Today taking on the New York Times. I’m not the only one who feels this connection. McRib fans across the country have had lunch planned since this announcement in October so a word of advice if you are going to give it a go, and you should, get the McD’s app and order early.
It’s late. Your buddy accidentally ate some potent edibles. You peer into your bright, empty refrigerator with a gape that only says one thing. “Where’s the beef?” Normally at 2am you’re SOL until your Key Food opens at sunrise but, if you live close to what we consider the greatest vending machine invented since Sprinkles cupcake ATM, you’re in major, grill-it-now, satiate those gourmet munchies, luck. That’s right 24/7 of prime cut beef on demand all from a little, smart, butcher called Applestone Meat Company. The Meat Vending Machine interior spins displaying the various cuts like diamonds in the windows of 47th street. You don’t even need your wallet just your phone with an Apple and Android Pay integration. This means you can Instagram your purchase in real time bragging to whoever is still awake. Prices vary depending on the cut and the size just like non-robot meat purchasing. We’d recommend going big and pricey because if your standing in front of this machine in pajamas it’s a major meat mission and why skimp now? Apparently, this gets confusing so the guys over at Applestone made this helpful video. We’re so psyched about this we’ve contemplated the 111 mile drive just to experience this merry-go-round of meat first hand. Look for an update on this post once we finally make that move. For now, those closer have a real innovation on their hands. We just hope this spreads far and fast so the rest of the carnivore night owls can share in the on-demand fun.
Today’s the day of atonement. I only know this as an honorary member of “the tribe” having sat through my fair share of Yom Kippur dinners. This is the meal that breaks the fast of the past 24 hours. This was the day that sent all my Jewish friends home from soccer practice early to beat sundown in high school. The thing is, my jew crew didn’t really do the fasting part very well BUT they definitely did the breaking part excellently. The typical Jewish cuisine gets a poor rep. This, under the trained taste buds, is a falsely perpetuated opinion perhaps the same way Portlanders say it’s always grey in Stumptown. For context and as a case in point, I’ve sampled some incredible homemade gefilte fish that can go toe to toe with any cultural cuisine. To this end, Jewish food needs better press and a little more marketing oomph to jump the hurdle into main stream. Ashley Albert is spearheading the effort with her artisanal matzo company from Brooklyn, The Matzo Project. Salted, cinnamon or everything (as in bagel) are your delicious choices. You can’t pick wrong. We’ve tasted them all. You might be asking why I didn’t post this last week. That’s the point you should be stocking this year round. Eating it instead of chips or Triscuits. Plus, those of you who partake in the festivities, you’ve got Sukkot in five days. Stock up.